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U.S. Will Direct Contractors to Verify Affirmative Action Plans

Nov. 29, 2021, 10:52 PM

The U.S. Labor Department’s contractor compliance agency will require federal contractors to verify that they have affirmative action plans, even if they’re not currently scheduled for an audit, sources familiar with the announcement said.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will collect verification of the plans, also known as AAPs, via a portal called the Affirmative Action Plan Verification Interface. The announcement could come as soon as Dec. 1, the sources said.

The plans describe how contractors recruit and employ women, minorities, certain veterans, and workers with disabilities. Contractors aren’t judged by whether they reach their established affirmative action goals, but rather by “the nature and extent of the contractor’s good faith” efforts and “the appropriateness of those activities” to address equal employment opportunity challenges, according to agency regulations.

Federal contractors that meet certain employee and contract value thresholds must create and maintain the written plans within 120 days of entering into a federal contract, and they must be reviewed annually.

Currently, businesses that hold federal contracts verify with the government’s System for Award Management that they have an affirmative action plan in place, and the OFCCP generally doesn’t review the plan unless they’re auditing a contractor.

The OFCCP solicited comments on such an information collection in September, following the recommendation of a 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report. Most of the employer groups that commented on the proposed verification opposed what they viewed as demanding or onerous data submission requirements.

The agency didn’t immediately reply to an after-hours email request for comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at sstein@bloomberglaw.com; Paige Smith in Washington at psmith@bloomberglaw.com; Ben Penn in Washington at bpenn@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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